Barn Notes 1/13/24

Compiled by Robert Yates

Trainer Jeff Hiles’ first career victory came March 21, 2019, at Oaklawn with Loran Holiday. Hiles’ 82nd career victory came in Friday’s eighth race at Oaklawn – a $143,000 starter for older horses at 1 3/16 miles – with Time for Trouble, who edged Buck Moon by three-quarters of a length under Rafael Bejarano.

Time for Trouble ($12.20) marked just the fifth Oaklawn starter for Hiles since 2019 and first since 2021. Co-owned by Hiles and Paul Parker (Thorndale Stable), Time for Trouble was exiting a victory in the $75,000 Claiming Crown Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial at 1 1/16-miles Dec. 2 at the Fair Grounds.

“Distance,” Hiles said, when asked what brought him back to Oaklawn. “We were looking for a spot to run him and I wanted to come to Hot Springs, anyway. I like it down here. I haven’t been down here in a couple of years while racing’s going on. Just seemed to be a good spot for him.”

Time for Trouble raised his career earnings to $536,557 with his 11th victory from 29 starts. Hiles claimed the gelding for $8,000 in June 2021 at Churchill Downs.

Hiles said Time for Trouble, a 7-year-old son of grass champion English Channel, could be candidate for the $200,000 Temperence Hill Stakes for older horses at 1 ½ miles March 29 at Oaklawn.

Hiles ran trainer Kenny McPeek’s Oaklawn division before striking out on his own in late 2018 at Churchill Downs. Hiles brought three horses that winter to Oaklawn, including Loran Holiday. Hiles is now based at HighPointe Farm & Training Center in La Grange, Ky., about 25 miles northeast of Louisville, and races extensively in Kentucky and Florida in the winter.

Hiles is the son of veteran trainer Rick Hiles, longtime president of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. Rick Hiles has 72 career victories at Oaklawn.

Winter Break for Whelen Springs

Arkansas-bred star Whelen Springs will miss the remainder of the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting that ends May 4 because of a minor injury, John Gasper said Wednesday. Gasper is racing manager for Arkansas lumberman John Ed Anthony, who bred and owns Whelen Springs.

Gasper said Whelen Springs was injured during a troubled seventh-place finish in a Dec. 15 open allowance race at Oaklawn. Whelen Springs stumbled badly leaving the gate, then had to avoid two rivals late on the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile race.

“When he stumbled here, he kind of got a little bit messed up around his rear end,” Gasper said. “No surgery or anything. We’re just going to give him a little bit of time.”

Gasper said Whelen Springs is in Kentucky, adding noted equine orthopedic surgeon Larry Bramlage recommended 60 days off before resuming training.

“That’s what we’re doing,” Gasper said. “He’s on turn out, too. It’s not like he has to stay in the stall. He goes out every day. He’ll miss this meet, which is too bad.”

A 5-year-old son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Whelen Springs, then with trainer John Ortiz, beat Arkansas-breds in the $150,000 Rainbow Stakes and open company in the $150,000 Bachelor Stakes. Both six-furlong races were in 2022 at Oaklawn.

After a stretch of poor performances, Whelen Springs was transferred to trainer Lindsay Schultz last spring and flourished in two-turn races at Monmouth Park, highlighted by a victory in the 8 ½-furlong $250,000 G3-Philip H. Iselin Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Aug. 19.

The Iselin represented the first career graded stakes victory for Schultz, who began working for Shortleaf last winter at Oaklawn, and the first Arkansas-bred graded stakes winner in North America since 2016.

Whelen Springs has 5-2-2 record from 18 lifetime starts and earnings of $552,950.

Finish Lines

Apprentice jockey Joseph Bealmear recorded his second career victory when January Jubilee ($17.60) captured Friday’s first race at Oaklawn for 2015 Oaklawn training champion Chris Hartman. Bealmear, 19, won his first race Dec. 30 at Oaklawn. Bealmear, who rides with a 10-pound apprentice allowance, is represented by agent Robby Albarado, the now-retired jockey who was Oaklawn’s leading rider in 1996 and 1997. … After finishing second with his first career mount on a synthetic surface Thursday at Gulfstream Park, Keith Asmussen won Friday’s second race at Oaklawn aboard Doc Higgins ($8.40) for the jockey’s father, Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. Doc Higgins represented the meet-high 14th victory for Asmussen and 890th overall at Oaklawn. Asmussen is the winningest trainer in Oaklawn history. … Francisco Arrieta ($1,116,477) became the second jockey to reach $1 million in purse earnings at the 2023-2024 Oaklawn meeting Friday.